Moving Ahead At Fostoria Site

Brownfields redevelopment – cleaning up old industrial sites and finding new uses for them – will be the key to bringing good manufacturing and business jobs back to the Ohio Valley. In Moundsville, they’ve overcome a big obstacle to that.

It took several years of decontamination, but the old Fostoria Glass factory site in the city is ready for redevelopment, Tom Brown of GAB Enterprises revealed last week.

Fostoria operated the factory for nearly a century before it was sold to another firm. In 1986, that company shuttered the plant, on First Street.

Moundsville officials bought the land, along with the old factory buildings, several years ago. Their hope was to restore the property to productive use.

But contamination of the land and asbestos in the buildings proved too much for city government to tackle. As matters stood, levels of hazardous materials were so high the state Division of Environmental Protection would not allow redevelopment of the 8.2-acre site for anything.

But Brown’s company, based in Shadyside, took over the project and persisted. Now, the DEP has granted conditional permission for new construction at the site.

That opens the way for GAB Enterprises to offer the property to new tenants or, perhaps, even buyers. Some environmental concerns remain, but they can be dealt with effectively and safely, Brown noted.

That is wonderful news. Moundsville and Brown’s company have set an example of how to handle brownfields redevelopment.

Of course, as frustrating, expensive and challenging as work to date has been, it is only a start. Opening new businesses at the Fostoria site will require initiative and resources.

In the past, state and federal funding has been available for some brownfields projects. Should Brown and/or the city of Moundsville request such assistance for the Fostoria site, government officials should view the project favorably.

Again, brownfields projects are critical to the future of the Ohio Valley. And good ones such as that in Moundsville can provide experience useful elsewhere. Government agencies with any involvement in the local site should do all in their power to build on the already major success.